Political ad spending for the midterms cycle will exceed the presidential election year of 2020, according to an AdImpact report.
Spending during the current two-year cycle also will be more than double as compared with the 2018 midterms, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Total spending — on broadcast, cable, satellite, streaming television, radio, and online — is on pace to reach close to $9.7 billion, AdImpact reported. That compares with about $4 billion in the 2018 cycle, and about $9 billion in the 2020 cycle.
"An increasingly polarized electorate and easily accessible online fundraising tools have been major factors propelling this surge in spending," the AdImpact report says. "It no longer takes a presidential ticket at the top of the ballot to push a cycle near the $10 billion threshold."
AdImpact, a top advertising-industry observer, included races for Congress, governorships and other down-ballot contests, and spending figures weren't inflation-adjusted.
Nearly $4.3 billion will be spent on House and Senate races, and $2.4 billion will be spent by campaigns for governor, AdImpact said. Other down-ballot races will account about $3 billion.
Senate races in Arizona, Georgia, Ohio, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin already have surpassed $100 million each in advertising, AdImpact said. In the 2018 cycle, only Florida's Senate race exceeded $100 million.
AdImpact projects a 40% increase in spending for House races over the 2020 cycle, and a 60% increase compared with 2018.
Candidates have been able attract more small-dollar donors with the help of online fundraising platforms such as WinRed (Republicans) and ActBlue (Democrats).
"We continue to see more dollars coming into the system," AdImpact CEP Kyle Roberts told WSJ.
However, overall ad spending appeared to be slowing down as rising inflation weakens consumer spending, WSJ reported.
About $5 billion in ads have run this cycle or are booked to do so between now and the Nov. 8 election, AdImpact said.
WSJ reported that a campaign's final three months typically account for about two-thirds of total spending, so many anticipated ad buys haven't been placed yet.
Many campaigns have turned to streaming platforms, which have more financially efficient ad placements compared with traditional broadcast TV. Also, voter groups and geographic areas can be targeted more easily.
AdImpact estimated that total spending on such platforms will grow to $1.4 billion by November.
Still, broadcast TV remains the dominant platform for political ads. AdImpact projects more than half of this cycle's spending will be placed on local TV stations.
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